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Rugby Championship/Bledisloe Cup

O’Connor to move closer to action

O’Connor to move closer to action

UTILITY BACK James O’Connor could see game time at first or second five during the Wallabies’ two-match tour of the UK, says coach Robbie Deans.

With Quade Cooper (knee) and Pat McCabe (shoulder) among the eight injured absentees missing from the 26-man squad, Deans will be forced to tinker with his backline.

O’Conner, who has played primarily on the wing for the Wallabies, has played pivot and inside centre at Super Rugby level for the Western Force.

“We've got an opportunity here,” says Deans.

“Obviously, James is 21 now, he's starting to grow into his body and as he gets older he'll be more able to cope with the rigours of the frontline.

“When you are looking at the players that we are taking, it's very likely he will get the opportunity to step up and accept some of the greater responsibility that comes directing the game.”

Deans says it is possible O’Connor could see game time at both 10 and 12 during the tour.

“He's got so little background in both, but he's clearly able in both.

“We'll look at the big picture in terms of the team and then we'll make those decisions.”

The Wallabies play the UK Barbarians at Twickenham on November 26 and Wales at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on December 3.

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